Life of a worrywart: a memoir

October 21st, 2014



Hello, my name is Katelyn DeBaun, and I am addicted to worrying.


(Hi, Katelyn.)


This comes from your faithful World News Editor who believes we still do not need to worry so much about Ebola hitting the United States in the same way the bubonic plague hit Europe. Even with the death of the first Ebola victim in the U.S. and new airport screenings across the country, it’s not at the top of my list of concerns.


I guess you could say I’ve become very self-centered in my anxieties about life. As a junior, I’m now in that awkward phase where I keep thinking, “Oh, I still have two years left,” and “Oh. I only have two years left.”


I started having a sort of quarter-life crisis during my sophomore year when I really started grappling with thoughts of career plans, graduate schools and of course, the omnipresent student loans.


One of my professors told the class last week that she was still paying off her student loan debt. Really, who needs coffee in the morning when you can just have anxiety-induced heart palpitations instead?


Student loans are the epitome of many students’ nightmares. It’s no wonder, considering that the average student who graduated in 2012 took out nearly $30,000 in loans, according to U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that borrowers 60 years of age or older still owe over $43 billion in student loan debts.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 65.9 percent of high school students who graduated in 2013 enrolled in universities or colleges. From this percentage of the population, the U.S. government profited approximately $41 billion from student loans, according to USA Today. Only two corporations earned higher profits last year – Exxon Mobil and Apple.


For many individuals, the rising costs of tuition and other academic expenses are evolving student loans into family loans. Unable to find sufficient careers after college, countless students have had to start turning to their parents for help paying student loans, frequently passing along crippling debt.


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that I think student loans are the axis of evil. I would not have been able to attend John Carroll without them. In fact, JCU offered me a better financial aid package than the eight other schools to which I applied.


Yes, I applied to nine schools. I was worried about applying to too few schools. Like I said, I’m a worrywart. And, being a worrywart, the idea of passing my student debt onto my family makes me feel physically ill.


A college education should be attainable to every single person. While many argue that student loans are what make it attainable, does carrying $30,000 in debt into your first job—if you’re lucky enough to get one immediately after graduation—really make college attainable?


If you’re a frequent reader of “Katelyn’s Candor,” you know I tend to include my opinionated method of fixing a less than perfect situation.


However, I have no clue how to fix the student loan crisis. It’s unfortunate that countless college students, who ought to be spending their early 20s unburdened by heavy debts, must instead worry about the consequences of the costs to attend college.